Archive for the ‘bureauacracy’ Category

States Rebel Against Obama’s Washington

March 27, 2009

There’s an old joke in South Carolina: Confederate President Jefferson Davis may have surrendered at the Burt-Stark mansion in Abbeville, S.C., in 1865, but the people of state Rep. Michael Pitts’s district never did.

By Patrik Jonsson Patrik Jonsson
Christian Science Monitor

With revolutionary die-hards behind him, Mr. Pitts has fired a warning shot across the bow of the Washington establishment. As the writer of one of 28 state “sovereignty bills” – one even calls for outright dissolution of the Union if Washington doesn’t rein itself in – Pitts is at the forefront of a states’ rights revival, reasserting their say on everything from stem cell research to the Second Amendment.

“Washington can be a bully, but there’s evidence right now that there are people willing to resist our bully,” said Pitts, by phone from the state capitol of Columbia.

Just as California under President Bush asserted itself on issues ranging from gun control to medical marijuana, a motley cohort of states – from South Carolina to New Hampshire, from Washington State to Oklahoma – are presenting a foil for President Obama‘s national ambitions. And they’re laying the groundwork for a political standoff over the 10th Amendment, which cedes all power not granted to Washington to the people.

The movement’s success will largely depend on whether Washington sees these legislative insurgents as serious – or, as Pitts puts it, as just “a bunch of rednecks.”

“There’s a lot of frustration when someone quite distant from you forces you to do something you don’t want to do,” says Steve Smith, director of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy at Washington University in D.C. “That’s the root cause, and it ends up being rationalized in constitutional terms.”

Resurgent states
The reversal of the federal stem cell research ban, a stimulus package widely seen as a backdoor grasp for more federal power, and fears about gun control have accelerated a state sovereignty movement that began taking shape under the Bush administration. In the past, both liberals and conservatives have used states’ rights arguments for political expedience. That may be the case now as ousted conservatives try to force issues out of Washington and into states, where they have a better chance of winning them.

“Where power resides and who gets to do what – there’s been an ongoing interpretation of that through our history,” says Idaho State Rep. George Sayler of Coeur d’Alene, who voted against a states’ rights bill that passed recently in the Gem State. “Sometimes the federal government asserts a stronger role, and it looks now like we might be getting into a period where the states” push for more power.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/2
0090327/ts_csm/arogue

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Obama Stimulus; Fewer Jobs, Real Growth Industry is Government Counting, Regulating Jobs (Go Figure)

March 27, 2009

When President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill last month, he promised it would create or save 3.5 million jobs. Federal and state officials are ramping up efforts to count those jobs, but it won’t be easy.

In Marlborough, N.H., population 2,085, residents meet in the school gym to vote on every detail of the town’s budget for the coming year. Headlining the debate on a recent evening was a plan to dig two wells for drinking water.

NPR

At one point, a man in a leather vest steps to the microphone and asks Selectman John Northcott what sources of money might pay for this.

“We have first applied for stimulus funds from the state,” Northcott says.

In the end, residents vote in favor of digging the wells. And a stimulus job might be born.

 Stimulus: Example of More Wise Spending on “Infrastructure”?

Complicated Job Calculations

Let’s assume Marlborough gets stimulus money for all or part of the project. The federal dollars will pay for some jobs, and the contractor will send a form to the state saying how many jobs were involved and how much those jobs paid.

It sounds simple. But it isn’t.

In an office at the state Capitol in Concord, Bud Fitch flips through a fat white binder. It’s his magna carta for the federal regulations that guide his work as director of New Hampshire’s Office of Economic Stimulus.

Page 174 tells him he must count the jobs, but he’s still waiting for the pages that will tell him how. In the past, government agencies have used different approaches.

“Some would count noses. ‘How many did you hire?’ — without a lot of constraint on whether it’s full-time, part-time, low-paying, high-paying,” says Fitch. “Others would have you count hours, without consideration of how many people work those hours.”

Creating A Yardstick

What’s needed is a yardstick so that a job counted under one program will be the same as a job counted under another. Part of the complication is that not all jobs are created equal. Some are seasonal; some allow a person to work on more than one project at once, and so on.

Picking one yardstick might seem relatively easy compared to the next challenge: How do you tell the difference between a job that was saved by the stimulus and a job that would have been there anyway?

Bruce Meyer, a professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, analyzes the labor supply. He says there are reasonable methods, but it’s almost impossible to know what a firm would have done if left on its own.

“They might have increased their employment even without the jobs subsidy,” he says, “because firms increase and decrease all the time.”

Keeping Tally

The agency in Washington that has to sort this out is the Office of Management and Budget. OMB’s Deputy Director, Rob Nabors, agrees that counting jobs, particularly saved jobs, is tricky.

He says agencies will use several methods. They will ask for documentation that layoffs would have occurred without the stimulus. And there will be some estimating. But Nabors says his office will be conservative.

Read the rest and here the radio broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story
/story.php?storyId=102401019&ft=1&f=1006

Related:
Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

 Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/2
7/now-they-tell-us-pt-ii-ap-really-catc
hing-on-to-obama-math/